Mitch Willer Sylvia Sidney... I Love Her Still

Former Young Ideas front-man Mitch Willer makes a seemingly effortless transition to solo artist mode with this independently released ten-song effort. Unlike the edgy, piano-driven pop of his last outfit (Willer was also a member of the Shadow Puppets way back when), this new material settles into a cosier, more contemporary armchair, puts its feet up and stays put throughout the decidedly mellow programme. Willer is a talented and deftly melodic vocalist (similar in style and timbre to Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle), but there are a couple of tracks here that might have benefited from additional tries at the microphone. Lyrically, Willer is just as likely to punctuate his acutely sentimental storytelling with a classic love-song cliché as he is some oddball reference to cultural ephemera, often resulting in unique and charming juxtapositions. A wide range of instrumentation is tastefully applied throughout the recording, including hints of cello, stand-up bass and trumpet flourishes by Toronto session veteran Sarah McElcheran. Two duets with Sarah Harmer-esque vocalist Kat Goldman serve as highlights, as does the disc’s Syd Barrett-meets-Burt Bacharach closer, "Time to Go Away.” (Independent)